Google beats Microsoft for huge Ford contract that includes licenses for Android Auto

Google Assistant on Android Auto
Google Assistant on Android Auto (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google just signed a six-year deal with Ford for an undisclosed amount.
  • The deal gives Ford access to Google's Android Auto system as well as its cloud and AI services.
  • The first models with the integration are expected to arrive in 2023.

Google and Ford have formed a multi-year partnership that will see the two companies working together to drive the auto industry forward. As part of this six-year deal, the companies are collaborating on a new initiative called Team Upshift, which will bring their teams together to help modernize Ford's business and product offerings, while expanding the reach of Google's automotive and cloud services.

The deal will see Android Auto integrated into Ford and Lincoln vehicles, with the first models arriving in 2023. According to Ford, this will help the company to deliver unique experiences driven by Google's cloud and AI services that can not only personalize vehicles but make them more informative and useful. This means access to the best Android Auto apps and services like Google Assistant, Google Maps, various apps from the Play Store, and now even integration with Samsung SmartThings.

This is a first-of-a-kind in terms of an across-Alphabet partnership. It's a really strategic one because it links all the elements: The experience people have in the cars while they're driving, the experience they have in the front office, the transformation of manufacturing and supply chain, and the modernization of the IT system.

The partnership means Ford is free to divert its focus from building and maintaining an operating system, so supporting and creating new experiences for an existing one. Ford has already said that it plans to bring apps to the Google Play ecosystem. And as mentioned above, the company also plans to leverage Google's cloud and AI across all aspects of its business, from manufacturing to customer service, in order to drive modernization.

For now, Ford will continue to use and maintain its Sync system, which was developed alongside Microsoft. It's likely Ford will continue to support the service even after newer Android Auto vehicles are launched, especially given the recent launch of models like the Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.